The first four-fifths or so of this book in the Gervase Fen mystery series by Edmund Crispin is highly entertaining, culminating in an exciting woodland search, rescue and chase.
Fen has been engaged by the headmaster of a private school to give the prize-day speech at the end of session, and - of course - he becomes embroiled in sudden drama. This includes a double-murder mystery, abduction (or is it a third murder?), a heroic dog and the apparent discovery of a priceless, long-lost seventeenth-century literary manuscript. Some important conversations take place in a local inn, where the hilarious `Charlie Rumbles' incident is beautifully written.
Unfortunately, the final fifth of this book is largely devoted to Fen explaining how he worked out what was going on, which - after the tension which was built up throughout the rest of the book - becomes anticlimactic due to its length.
Two cheers, then, for this effort, which for the majority of the novel is very enjoyable indeed.
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